Backup Only

This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog archive

Wednesday, 28 November 2029

Last Minute Changes / News

Mon, 17-May update: Max group size is 30. Track-and-trace rules are stricter.

Friday, 8 August 2025

Annual Events

Jan

Canary Wharf Light Festival

Feb

Snowdrops: SWC 353 - Knebworth Circular

Mar

Wood anemones: Book 1, Walk 15: Leigh to Tunbridge Wells;  Short 43: Lesnes Abbey Woods

Apr

 Azaleas: 1-18: Sunningdale to Windsor - in Saville Gardens (Windsor): also Isabella Plantation (Richmond Park)

May

Bluebells : Late April-early May: 2 - 5ab: Tring to Berkhamsted via Dockey Wood and Flat Isley;  1 - 9: Shiplake to Henley via High Wood and Greys Court;  2 - 13e: Guildford to Boxhill; 1- 47: Ockley to Warnham.......and many more (see our Nature Blog)

Early May: for late bluebells plus rhododendrons and azaleas: 1-42: Holmwood to Gomshall via Leith Hill Rhododendron Wood

Ashwell at Home - for open gardens - Baldock Circular (SWC 91) - usually the 2nd Sunday in May (cancelled for 2021)

Cow Parsley:  SWC 91- Baldock Circular ;  1-8: Bures to Sudbury 

Jun

Apple Blossom: 1-28: Chilham to Canterbury;  SWC 299 - Teynham to Faversham;  1-36: Borough Green to Sevenoaks

Buttercups: 1-8: Bures to Sudbury;  SWC 190 - Thame Circular

Oxeye daisies: 1-10: Beaconsfield Circular 

Leigh on Sea folk festival ~ late Jun

Poppies: 2-22: Amberley to Arundel

Jul

Sandwich folk festival ~ 4 & 5 July

Lavender: Late July - Short 23 - Banstead to Woodmansterne; 1-36: Borough Green to Sevenoaks ; also in Letchworth Garden City

Aug

Pride Parade in Brighton: ~ 1st Sat in Aug

Heather: 1-27: Milford to Haslemere

Sep Heather - and berries, fruits and nuts.
Start of fungi (mushrooms) in woods

Oct

Deer Rut - Bushy Park, Richmond Park

Sussex Bonfires - Oct and Nov.

Late October - early November: autumn leaf colour: SWC 140 - Wendover Circular via the Lee and Swan Bottom;  1-45: Princes Risborough to Great Missenden; 1-47: Ockley to Warnham

Nov

Brokham Bonfire, Lewes Bonfire, many "smaller" ones in Sussex

Dec  Christmas Fair: 1-7: Garston to St Albans 
Note:

For a more comprehensive list of SWC walks with flowers, particularly our bluebell walks, please see the Nature Pages / Where to Find Wild Flowers

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Brighton Pride Parade 2022 and walk to Newhaven

Postponed again to Sat, 6 Aug 2022.

The parade starts from i360 tower on the sea front at 11am. A good place to watch would be the sea side of the seafront parade route, opposite the Holiday Inn on Little Preston Street. So a train to arrive in Brighton about 1015, or a little earlier as might be very crowded. It has a fun atmosphere, lots of rainbow clothing. Watch the parade go by, about an hour, then start walk along the coast. Lunch in Wethies overlooking Brighton marina (or if you can wait, Rottingdean has a seafront pub with outside tables overlooking the sea). Then through the Marina to the Undercliff path (passing a cafe or 2) to Rottingdean (pub), more undercliff path, then cliff top path to Newhaven Fort, harbour, town and eventually train station. l=swc.213

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Sunday Walk - Buttercups and Views on the North Downs ridge: Sandling to Wye

COVID 19
Track-and-Trace: please provide email address (preferred) or mobile phone number at the start
Rule of Thirty: up to June 21
 
Length: 21.7 km (13.5 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 429/476 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness: 6 out of 10 
 
Take the 10.12 Margate train from St. Pancras I’nal (10.19 Stratford), change at Ashford (Dover Priory train, 10.50/11.04), arriving Sandling at 11.15. 
The Dover Priory train changed onto at Ashford is the 09.40 from Charing Cross via Waterloo East, London Bridge, Orpington (10.05) and Sevenoaks (10.15). 
Return trains: xx.18 to Victoria via Bromley South, change at Ashford for Charing Cross or St. Pancras services. 
Buy a Wye or a Sandling return, they are the same price. Buy a High Speed-surcharge if travelling on the High Speed-trains from/to St. Pancras. 
 
This lovely walk follows one of the finest sections of the North Downs Way along the edge of the North Downs escarpment with fine views for nearly the whole walk. There is just one 3 km section mid-afternoon when you are away from the escarpment edge. There can be intense displays of buttercups on this walk.
While the route for the most part follows the North Downs Way exactly (once it has climbed from Sandling up onto the ridge), the creation of Access Land in 2000 has also opened up some escarpment sections that were formerly off limits to walkers. Where these improve the walk, they have been included in the route. 
 
Walk Option: above kilometerage assumes you descend from the Downs to the lunch pub. Picnicking on the ridge cuts 1.1 km and a re-ascent up the hill.
 
Note: while the North Downs Way is waymarked, it is not always comprehensively so, and in places the waymarks are confusing or missing. The path is not always as obvious as one might expect from such a major long-distance footpath. Hence full written-up directions are provided in pdf form on the website on top of the more-sparse directions at the bottom of the webpage.
 
Lunch: The Tiger Inn in Stowting will apparently re-open, but only on May 29; The Five Bells Inn in Brabourne (11.7 km/7.3 mi, food to 18.00, a table has been booked for 14.00 hours). 
Tea: Kings Head, Wye Coffee Shop and Kitchen (closing at 16.00), Tickled Trout, all in Wye. 
 
For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.24

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Saturday Walk Baldock Circular - vast fields and open views, the Icknield Way, a rescued church, and a charming Hertfordshire Village with 3 good pubs

SWC 91 - Baldock Circular

Length: 19.6 km (12.2 miles)  or 9.1 miles if concluding walk at Ashwell & Morden railway station
Toughness: 4 out of 10


Thameslink service from Brighton to Cambridge, with stops at:

East Croydon: 09-31 hrs
London Bridge: 09-46 hrs
City Thameslink: 09-54 hrs
London St Pancras: 10-01 hrs   Platform B
Finsbury Park:  10-12 hrs     with connection to LT Victoria Line

arriving Baldock:  10-47 hrs


Return

Baldock to London Kings Cross:  26 & 56 mins past the hour
Baldock to St Pancras:  17 & 48 mins past the hour

Ashwell & Morden station to Kings Cross: direct trains at 21 & 51 mins past the hour
                                            to St Pancras: direct trains at 43 mins past the hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Baldock -  or Ashwell & Morden if planning to do shorter walk 


Covid-19 Compliance: please note the current guidance on this website and observe social distancing. You should all come prepared to exchange contact details for track and trace purpose. You can either pre-register for this walk (not essential ) by e-mailing me at swc-marcus@walkingclub.org.uk  or, if you prefer, please write your name, e-mail address and contact 'phone number on a small piece of paper for handing to me on the train or when we assemble at walk start. Thank you.  


SWC's resident archivist and historian will correct me if I say (in error) that this is the first time this walk has been giving an outing other than on a Sunday - for Ashwell at Home, in May - or August Bank Holiday Monday - for the Ashwell Show.  As unfortunately the delightful Ashwell at Home open house day has been cancelled for the second year running, due to Covid, I thought why not impose this walk  on unsuspecting Saturday walkers - so here it is.

Now - if you like challenging hills, water features, woodland trails and forests etc, this walk may not excite you or be to your liking. It is mostly flat, over vast fields, but with sweeping Hertfordshire views. But it has its own charms, in a different sort of way to our South Downs walks,  so Saturday walkers, why not give it a go ?  

The Village of Ashwell is worth exploring when you reach it after 9 km of walking for your lunchtime stop.  The impressive church with its tall tower might not have reopened its doors yet to visitors  - but the village's three pubs should have - for indoor and outdoor dining. I've dined in all three and all are good.
That's The Rose and Crown with its large pub garden, The Bushel and Strike , with large outdoor dining areas, and the quaint The Three Tuns Hotel.  The best place for picnickers is probably the precincts of St Mary's Church.

After lunch and sightseeing, those on the short walk head east along the road to Ashwell and Morden. The main walk continues to the west with a long, steady hill after leaving the village, about the only incline today. You soon arrive at the hamlet of Caldecote with its small church recently restored by the splendidly named "Friends of Friendless Churches" organisation. Onwards then - and a bit of road walking - to the village of Newnham, with another interesting church. You next cross a sweeping field to soon link up with the Icknield Way, for your return to Baldock. When you reach the main road you can turn left for a direct route to the railway station, but the walk's directions take you through a local nature reserve and  woodland on the Kingfisher Way and on into the town of Baldock. There are pubs and cafes in the town which should be open and eager for your custom.

Recommended !
T=swc.91

Walk Directions are here:  L=swc.91 

Scotland: Roybridge

Due to current advice from the Government and BMC to stay home (and off mountains), the trip to Roybridge planned for 16 May to 23 May 2020 has been postponed to 22-29 May 2021. The trip will go ahead as originally planned at that time.
For more information on the area, see Roybridge information. For more information about the trip and to check availability, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Wednesday walk Merstham to Epsom - The North Downs Way, Gatton Park, Reigate Hill, Banstead Heath and Epsom Downs - on the Coal Tax Post Walk

SWC Walk 4 - Merstham to Epsom (or Tattenham Corner)

Length: 18.25 km (11.3 miles)  or  17 km (10.6 miles) to Tattenham Corner   Shorter options available
Toughness:  4 out of 10


London Victoria:  10-09 hrs    Southern service to Reigate    CJ 10-16 hrs,   EC 10-28 hrs
Arrive Merstham: 10-44 hrs

Return

Epsom to Victoria:  01, 23, 31 and 53 mins past the hour
Epsom to London Waterloo: 19 and 49 mins past the hour
Tattenham Corner to London Bridge: 09 and 39 mins past the hour

Rail ticket   Merstham and Epsom are both one stop beyond the travelcard zone. Depending on the travelcard you possess, your best option is probably a single to Merstham from the boundary of Zone 6, and a single from Epsom to Ewell East / West (the boundary of Zone 6). If returning from Tattenham corner, this station is within Boundary Zone 6.


Covid-19 Compliance: please note the current guidance on this website and observe social distancing. You should all come prepared to exchange contact details for track and trace purpose. You can either pre-register for this walk (not essential ) by e-mailing me at swc-marcus@walkingclub.org.uk  or, if you prefer, please write your name, e-mail address and contact 'phone number on a small piece of paper for handing to me on the train or when we assemble at walk start. Thank you.  


This enjoyable walk not far from London takes you through Gatton Park, landscaped by Capability Brown, and now a boarding school, and on to Reigate Hill to enjoy some lovely views. Its cafe should be open for elevenses, where service hopefully is more efficient than that at Leith Hill Tower.  You walk along the ridge of this Hill which continues as Colley Hill before dropping down to Banstead Heath, where you can take lunch at the Sportsman pub, Mogador. I am told the cuisine on offer by the new landlord is more basic than that offered by his long-term predecessor, but it is probably worth a try - with dining back indoors, too !

Shortly before Mogador you pass the first of many coal tax posts on this walk. I leave it to you to work out what they were all about and why they are to be found on this walk.

From the Sportsman you head over Banstead Heath and beside a golf course, then through woodland to Walton-on-the-Hill, where alternative lunch options, pubs and restaurants can be found (but please note - the Blue Ball pub did not survive Covid lockdown). From Walton-on-the-Hill you head towards Epsom, first along a long bridleway, then up onto Walton Downs then onto Epsom Downs and its famous racecourse. You cross over the expansive racecourse and head for Chalk Lane which goes downhill to the outskirts of the town. On through Rosebery Park and you are in the centre of Epsom, with its shops and refreshment options. The railway station is close to the town centre.

Whilst up on the Downs you might like to take the diversion to Langley Vale Centenary Wood, a newly planted wood created by the Woodland Trust to commemorate World War One.
T=swc.4

Walk Directions are here:  L=swc.4




 

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Tuesday Evening: Rousing Richmond

Richmond Park Short Walk T=Short.7

Distance:         Approximately 4.4 miles or 7.6 km for those more metrically minded

Difficulty:        2 out of 10

Meet:              In front of the Richmond train station

Travel:             18:20 South Western Reading bound train from London Waterloo, arriving at Richmond at 18:36. Richmond is also reachable on the District Line. Return trains and tube run frequently.

This walk takes a varied route first along the Thames river, then past the impressive Ham House before entering Richmond Park. Once in the park, the route climbs the escarpment for some fine views across the Thames valley.

Please ensure you keep a safe distance from any deer spotted in Richmond Park and do NOT feed them.

Various options exist for post walk drinks and/or meal…..so, hopefully, we can improve on last Thursday’s refreshment options….possibly even going inside....

No more groups of 6!  However, to facilitate the collection of contact details, please pre-register for this walk on the "events" page at https://www.lwug.co.uk/. You will need to first sign-on and possibly register if you have not previously registered on the site.

If you test positive for COVID within a week of attending this walk, please contact me by emailing covid@lwug.co.uk.

More information about the route can be found here.

Enjoy the walk!

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Orchards and Bridges: From East Malling to Maidstone, Yalding, Beltring or Paddock Wood

SWC Walk 337:  East Malling to Maidstone, Yalding, Beltring or Paddock Wood t=swc.337

Distance:  About 11.7 miles or 19.0 km for those more metrically minded to finish in Maidstone (with various options to shorten) and slightly shorter to finish in Yalding. 

About 14 or 17 miles (23 or 25 km) respectively to finish in Beltring or Paddock Wood

Difficulty:  3 out of 10

Train:  Take the 9:25 AM Ramsgate train from London Victoria (stopping at Bromley South 9:42), arriving at East Malling at 10:20.  Return trains from Maidstone East are at 59 past the hour; Yalding at 12 and 47 past the hour; Beltring at 15 and 44 past the hour and Paddock Wood on the hour and 19 minutes past. Buy a day return to Maidstone or Beltring or Paddock Wood (depending on how far you plan to explore). 

This walk starts by passes through some orchards before descending towards the Medway passing an interesting Medieval manor house.  It also passes by 4 interesting bridges displaying fine examples of Medieval workmanship. The main routes continues into Maidstone; however, for those of an adventurous spirit, I would propose that we pick up the afternoon instructions of the Yalding Circular at West Farleigh (the location of the recommended lunch stop on both walks). The route back to Yalding is slightly shorter than going to Maidstone – but offers an exploratory extension to either Beltring or Paddock Wood – eyeing the map, it looks like an alternate route to Beltring exists that passes by a different pub in Laddingford and avoids the family park and busy road crossing mentioned in the instructions. You can find more information about the walks and download the walk instructions here and here.

The recommended lunch venue is the Tickled Trout in West Farleigh which appears to offer outdoor dining.  Both endings of the walk will undoubtedly have some al fresco post walk refreshment options.

It is expected to walk in groups of no more than six and provide contact details. To facilitate the collection of contact details, please pre-register for this walk on the "events" page at https://www.lwug.co.uk/. You will need to first sign-on and possibly register if you have not previously registered on the site.


If you test positive for COVID within a week of attending this walk, please contact me by emailing {remove the AAA} AAAcovid@lwug.co.uk, a private dedicated COVID reporting email address.

Enjoy the walk!

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Goring Circular via Hill Bottom - Maybe still some bluebells?

Length: 18km (11.3 miles), with a 7km (4.5 mile) extension possible to Pangbourne T=3.243
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.57 train from Paddington (10.05 Ealing Broadway) to Goring, arriving 11.04

Note: this is a local service out of Paddington and so is not affected by the current disruption to long-distance Great Western services due to reported cracks in train bogies

Buy a day return to Goring & Streatley (not Goring-by-Sea!!)

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.

This walk promises good bluebells and plenty of beech woods, which at present should be displaying gloriously bright green foliage ("eye-ache green", I call it). But it has to be said that a couple of past SWC attempts to catch the bluebells at their best have not been entirely successful. Will we be more lucky this time? I am banking on the fact that bluebells have been widely late this year, and Chilterns ones tend to be a bit later than those further south. Cross fingers, is all I can say.

The walk also has a slightly iffy history regarding lunch pubs. The Sun Inn has been both praised and slammed for unimaginative food in the past: the Red Lion was considered the best option on the last outing, but who knows if any of these pubs have survived the pandemic anyway? Bring a sandwich, says I. Hopefully Goring will be more reliable for takeaway tea or drinks (if it is not raining one can enjoy them by the Thames).

After tea/drinks, the optional 4.5 mile walk along the Thames Path into Pangbourne is always a pleasure. A GPX is provided for this but not walk directions, but the route is fairly obvious and well-waymarked anyway.

Trains back from Goring are at currently only hourly, at 48 past (52 past from Pangbourne)

This will hopefully be the last Saturday where we have to split into groups of six. It would be very useful if you could pre-register for this walk contact tracking purposes at www.lwug.co.uk: if not, please bring a piece of paper with your email written on it, which will be kept in an envelope and only used if a case of Covid arises on the walk. To let us know if a contract tracing requirement arises as a result of this walk, use covid@lwug.co.uk


Saturday Walk - Late bluebells, wild garlic, rape oil seed fields, lonely valleys, the South Downs ridge: Rowlands Castle Circular

COVID 19
Track-and-Trace: please provide email address (preferred) or mobile phone number at the start
Rule of Six: from start to finish please, and up to May 16 
 
Length: 25.5 km (15.9 mi) [longer and much shorter walks possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 488 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10 
 
Take the 09.00 Portsmouth Harbour train from Waterloo (09.25 Woking), change at Petersfield (same platform, 10.04/10.13), arriving Rowlands Castle at 10.22
From Clapham J take the 08.52 stopping service to Portsmouth & Southsea, direct to Rowlands.
The 10.00 train would be sufficient for the short walk. 
Return trains: xx.45 (direct). 
 
This demanding West Sussex walk in the undulating western part of the South Downs is characterised initially by a mixture of park- and woodland, then steep lonely valleys and some far views to the main South Downs Ridge.It starts off towards Stansted House along a 1.5 km-long beech avenue – one of the best in England according to Pevsner, and then heads north along the easterly edge of Stansted Forest and across fields via the hamlets of West, Up and East Marden to a very remote pub in Hooksway, with particularly nice views on the route between the hamlets, including up to the northern escarpment of the South Downs.From lunch you climb back out of the secluded valley on a westerly route to Compton, from where another couple of hills need to be crossed to finish along the westerly edge of Stansted Forest back into Rowlands Castle, with its teashop and a choice of pubs.

The walk (especially the extended version) features several sustained, steep climbs and descents. 

 

Walk Options:
A shortcut around lunch cuts 9.4 km and 307m ascent/descent (rated 4/10).
An extension after lunch adds 3.4 km and 162m ascent/descent. It follows a lonely, narrow, wood-fringed valley to the main northerly escarpment of the South Downs and then follows one of the most undulating sections of the South Downs Way with unrivalled far views from Pen Hill and Beacon Hill, making this a real challenge. The extended walk is rated 10/10.
All three routes share the start, up to West Marden, and the end, from Compton.

Bus Service 54 (Petersfield – Chichester) serves West Marden (the early lunch stop) and Compton (the late lunch/early tea stop), about every two hours, to late afternoon (last at 16.37/16.39).

 
Lunch: The Victoria Inn in West Marden (6.3 km/3.9 mi) seems to have lost its publicans and is for sale, but there is a recent review on Trip, so they may still be open for biz; The Royal Oak in Hooksway (12.6 km/7.9 mi, food to 14.00, bookings only!), The Coach & Horses in Compton (8.7 km/5.4 mi on the short walk, food to 14.30). 
Tea: The Village Shop & Tea Room in Compton (7.4 km/4.6 mi from the end, open to 17.00), plus three pubs and a café in Rowlands Castle; check page 2 of the walk directions pdf. 
 
For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.68